If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you probably remember that I attended the first round of Fashion Takes Action’s Design Forward competition. At that show, 10 sustainable and conscious designers showed mini collections, and one of the stand outs for me was Stevie Crowne.
One of the reasons why this particular sustainable designer’s collection spoke to me is the fact that these are clothes to get excited about. In a fashion industry that currently seems enamored of shapeless clothes and a sustainable style scene that feels like it’s so focused on whether or not the fabric is sustainable that innovative style gets lost in the noise, Stevie Crowne’s current LOST YOUTH collection feels like a breathe of fresh air.
Pieces are upcycled and customized with plenty of distressing, patches, hardware, and acid wash to make them completely. It all adds up to designs that can be described with my favourite fashion modifier of all: so damn rock ‘n roll.
I had the chance to ask some questions of the designer himself about this and future collections, as well as about his current rise through the rank and file of sustainable fashion:
What is your background and/or education? Is it in fashion, art, or something else?
I began the art of reimagining vintage clothing when I was 15 and showcased my first collection in my hometown in 2011. After a few shows, I decided to move out west to attend school which lasted about one semester (mind you I already had conceptualized my SS13 collection for Eco Fashion Week before dropping out).
From there, I never stopped showcasing at Canadian fashion weeks across the country, designing custom clothes for specialized clientele, selling in stores + pop ups, and doing press interviews in order to promote my line.
When I moved to Toronto I was mentored by project runway season 1 winner Evan Biddell (also from my hometown) who opened up a lot of networking connections and gave me an opportunity to shadow him to better my technical construction skills.
What drew you, specifically, to sustainable fashion and to create upcycled collections?
I always went thrifting with my mother in my childhood every weekend. I became entirely engulfed in this newfound pastime which lead me to do some research, which taught me that what I was doing was sustainable.
So long story short, I had no idea the impact I was having with the way I chose to produce my work until years after I had began.
Your ‘LOST YOUTH’ Collection is newly launched. Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the collection? What can we except to see from this collection?
Lost Youth has been a successful collection accompanied by a short fashion film with music by Toronto based Slater Manzo. This launched on my website alongside the online store which is on StevieCrowne.com.
There was a devout dedication to the attention of details such as chains (hand-sewn in), 10c YKK zippers used as trim, dye-acid wash techniques (my signature), glossy snakeskin embossed leather patchwork (texture) incorporated into classic denim jackets, bombers, and accessories.
The hardware relates to how in my youth I felt as if I was in chains, unable to express myself and also that I had to be silent about who I was (expressed through the zippers). The snakeskin relates to the type of people I had to work with to make it to where I am; I chose glossy snakeskin to glamorize the experience which at the time wasn’t so lovely.
You’ve had a chance to design and create custom pieces for DJ Kristian Nairn and you’ve been invited to show at Eco Fashion Week Australia in November. How does it feel to be recognized internationally and do you hope to take your label to an increasingly wider world audience? Any specific plans beyond these opportunities?
I am so honored, humbled, ecstatic, and thankful for all of the love I get from around the world. Most days I thank the universe for allowing me to live this experience in this time and also in a community that loves me just as much as I love them.
When international opportunities such as EFWA & celebrities like Kristian Nairn DM my Instagram, I wont lie – I definitely try not to over think it. I create each and every piece as I normally would. I produce it, tweak it, over-criticize it, I love it, I hate it, and then I send it off into the world where I will probably never see it again in person. (I am OBSESSIVE).
Most people wouldn’t see this process as I typically post the “best of” moments on my Instagram & social feeds.
In future collections, do you think you’ll stick to a youthful, punk aesthetic? If not, how do you foresee your aesthetic involving?
I think my youth is eternal and nobody will ever be able to taint my resilience. I feel as if each day is a new opportunity to be reborn and excited and not to grow old and bitter. My youth is a part of me I never want to let go of, because as a youth I always had such a blind optimism which got me through the hardest of times.
You will however see a slight upgrade + style change in high street design for my SS18 Collection, “UNDERGROUND MONARCH” which debuts in Toronto as well as Saskatchewan (they are flying me back and sponsoring my show in May 2018 which is humbling.) You will see tailored sleeveless blazers paneled with embossed luxury velvets to begin with. (Stay tuned on my website and social feeds for the process as it happens!)